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With the Overwatch 2 first beta almost over, the developers have released an update for week two on their blog. The talks within include more information about the support role and general balance changes.
Week 2 #Overwatch2 PvP Beta blog is up – has some more perspective and data on support performance and insights into some of what the hero and balance teams are looking at currently.https://t.co/p1FBGaZVmB
— Jon Spector (@Spex_J) May 12, 2022
Support improvements continue
Early on in the blog, the team went into the recent patch notes that changed supports significantly. This includes Ana’s Biotic Grenade and rifle changes, Zenyatta’s kick, and Lucio’s nerfed self-heal. Both Zenyatta’s pick rate and win rate increased after the patch, putting him in a more viable position than before. With Ana’s changes, her win rate dipped only by 2%, but her pick rate remained about the same.
But, the most important issue with supports early on in the beta revolved around the queue time. According to the blog, “players on average experienced 48% less time spent waiting for a match, gradually leveling off at around 22% improvement over the weekend.” The queue time shrank so much that the beta’s damage and support queue is faster than the original Overwatch’s respective queues.
More issues addressed
Yet, supports were part of a bigger issue that the team noticed as the beta continued. Both supports and tanks died more frequently on average in the Overwatch 2 beta, and the team attributed it to multiple things. For tanks, it was mainly due to Orisa’s new rework and D.Va’s weird position in 5v5, both leading to more deaths than usual. The team stated that these two heroes in particular are getting more focus from the team.
As for supports, the developers stated that in high-Diamond lobbies and above, a good tank or damage player would consistently send support players to their doom. According to the blog, “the most significant difference was at Grandmaster, where the support role saw an increase of 15% in frequency of deaths when compared to live.” The team acknowledged this is a problem, but also mentioned how they’ll have to be careful with mobility, as that was one of the key issues with the original beta’s Lucio.
Specific hero balance changes
The blog then went into a couple of heroes in detail, hinting at upcoming changes.
Essentially, even after the support hero changes, Moira remained a “stable” choice within 5v5. But, just because she is stable, it doesn’t mean she has to remain the same. The team acknowledged that, mentioning possible changes to lessen both her healing and damage output while giving her increased utility.
The main topic around Mercy was her unofficial ability Super Jump, a way to use Angelic Descent mixed with her Guardian Angel to boost herself high up in the air. Originally a bug, the developers kept the ability in the game as it required some challenge and helped Mercy players stay alive longer. The developers talk about trying to make that ability more consistent, with higher verticality so that casual players can learn and use it to its full potential.
Junkrat and Symmetra
To put it simply, Junkrat and Symmetra are DPS designed to break shields, something that 5v5 has limited. The team considered changing Junrkat’s grenade launcher fire rate, but it felt too much like a Pharah rocket launcher. So, the team is aiming to reward Junkrat grenade direct hits more.
As for Symmetra, her kit suffers from some overlap with the new Mei changes. At close range, Mei’s wall ability proves to be better than Symmetra’s teleport or turrets. According to the post, “while these heroes aren’t our current focus, they’re on our radar for future adjustments and continued monitoring.”
Week three looks to be the final week of the first Overwatch 2 beta, but week two has brought more insight into the developer’s focus on the PvP side of the game.
Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.